Eriksson criticises FA over Rio affair

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The Independent Football

The England coach Sven Goran Eriksson has hit out at the Football Association's disciplinary procedures and claimed Rio Ferdinand should have been suspended for missing a drugs test.

The Manchester United and England defender missed a drugs test in September and Fifa president Sepp Blatter has criticised the FA for allowing him to continue playing while the case came to a conclusion. Ferdinand will appear before an FA disciplinary hearing at Bolton's Reebok Stadium on 18 to 19 December. The player insists he simply forgot to give a sample after training but Eriksson is quoted in two of today's Sunday tabloids as saying: "Sepp Blatter is right in one respect, you miss a drug test and you are banned. The Rio Ferdinand situation has been going on for 10 weeks, it is far too long. It is the system that is wrong but I think it will be changed now. It is no good for the game, it is no good for the player."

Eriksson is unhappy with the FA's disciplinary process, which is currently being revised, and cited the example of Joe Cole, who waited eight months to be banned for misconduct. He added: "In Italy punishments are dealt with swiftly. If a player gets a red card he is sentenced on the Tuesday. If he requests a personal hearing it's dealt with in Milan on the Thursday."

FA spokesman Adrian Bevington acknowledged Eriksson's concerns and insisted the disciplinary system would be speeded up. "Sven's made his views very clear. It's not a direct criticism of the FA but he believes the process should be speeded up."

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